Hess Corp. said April 30 it completed its $312 million cash sale of non-strategic interests in the Bakken to Enerplus Corp., earlier than either company expected.

The companies had announced they had entered an agreement on April 8 for Calgary, Alberta-based Enerplus to acquire the interests, consisting of Hess’ Little Knife and Murphy Creek acreage in North Dakota. Closing of the transaction, which has an effective date of March 1, had been projected for May.

Despite the divestiture, CEO John Hess reaffirmed the importance of the Bakken to the independent E&P, which also operates offshore Guyana, saying in a statement that it is “a core asset in our company’s portfolio.”

“Sale of the Little Knife and Murphy Creek acreage—the majority of which we were not planning to drill before 2026—brings material value forward and further strengthens our cash and liquidity position,” he added.

The transaction consisted of 78,700 net acres in North Dakota’s Dunn County with net production averaging 4,500 boe/d net to Hess in first-quarter 2021.

Enerplus North Dakota Position Pro Forma Hess Bakken Acquisition Map

Enerplus said the purchase price of the Hess acquisition was funded with existing cash on hand and by borrowing on the company’s bank credit facility. The deal marked Enerplus’ second multimillion-dollar cash acquisition in the Bakken so far this year.

In March,  Enerplus completed the acquisition of private Williston Basin operator Bruin E&P Partners LLC for $465 million in cash, adding 151,000 net acres in the Bakken play.

In total, Enerplus has spent roughly $777 million in acquisitions to bolster its Bakken position so far in 2021.

As a result of the Hess acquisition, Enerplus said it was increasing its 2021 production guidance to 111,000 to 115,000 boe/d from 103,500 to 108,500 boe/d.

Stifel FirstEnergy was financial adviser to Enerplus on the Hess acquisition and BMO Capital Markets was its strategic adviser. Additionally, Vinson & Elkins LLP acted as U.S. legal adviser and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP acted as Canadian legal adviser to Enerplus.